UPDATE: Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald now says Rojas’ report is “utterly false.” So, you know, I maybe wrote all that brilliant, cutting edge analysis for nothing.
Jose Valverde is close to signing a one-year deal with the Marlins, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes.
Valverde lost his closer job in Detroit at the end of last season and predictably failed to garner much interest as a 34-year-old free agent after his strikeout rate plummeted to a career-low 6.3 per nine innings.
Still, he saved 35 games with a 3.78 ERA last season and has averaged 38 saves during the past six years, so the Marlins get a cheap closer option and Valverde gets an opportunity to bounce back while fighting Steve Cishek for save chances on a non-contending team.
Plus, his post-save theatrics will look especially ridiculous on a last-place team.
Manager Bud Black has tabbed Jon Gray to start on Opening Day for the Rockies. That will be Monday, April 3 in Milwaukee against the Brewers in an afternoon contest.
Gray, 25, is starting Opening Day for the first time in his career. He’ll be the sixth different Rockies pitcher to start Opening Day in as many years.
The Rockies and Gray had a bit of a scare on Friday as he left his spring training start with discomfort in his left foot, but everything came up clean in an MRI. He pitched again on Wednesday with no issue.
Last season, Gray went 10-10 with a 4.61 ERA and a 185/59 K/BB ratio in 168 innings. A consensus top prospect entering each of the previous three seasons, Gray surprisingly put up better numbers at Coors Field — the most hitter-friendly park in baseball — than away.
Today Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker named Blake Treinen as his closer. Treinen has saved exactly one big league game.
There wasn’t necessarily an obvious choice, however. Last year Washington had Mark Melancon, but with him gone and GM Mike Rizzo’s failure to land a high-profile closer in the offseason, it became a contest between Treinen Shawn Kelley and Koda Glover.
Treinen posted a 2.28 ERA with 31 walks and 63 Ks in 67 innings in 2016. His big improvement last year came against lefties, who had tattooed him in the past. He pitched well this spring as well, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
The Nats are our favorites to win the NL East, but we do have some questions about the pen. Blake Treinen will take the first crack at answering them.